Nov 25, 2012 8:00pm EST
ted widmer, followed by defense secretary leon panetta. this week on "q&a," "listening in: the secret white house recordings of john f. kennedy.," forwarded by caroline kennedy. >> ted widmer, how did you get involved in doing a book on the john f. kennedy tapes? >> well, there was a lot of excitement leading up to the 50th anniversary of the kennedy administration, which is three years of the 50th anniversary. elms around the cuban missile crisis, october, 1962. all of us wanted to have a good book ready for the fall of 2012. and many every us in the historical community as well as certainly at the library knew that there were these tremendously rich tapes, only a small percentage of which had actually been heard, and that it would be a service to the historical community and to all americans to get the tapes out to the listening public. so the library made the tapes available, but they need add historian to write an introduction and annotate, and so that's where i came in. >> i'm going to run a quick one here. this is from the 1952 senate race. it's not a tape of john f.
Nov 25, 2012 11:00pm EST
does he fit in? >> he was assistant secretary of defense and very friendly with president kennedy. and i included that phone call. it's just a short phone call, but it's fascinating because they are contemplating and really envisioning the first boarding of a soviet vessel that will put this quarantine to the test. and they don't know what the result will be. will the soviets fire back? and kennedy, as he did throughout the crisis, is saying whenever possible, use the minimum amount of force. and he just wants to understand it. they were smart to, because their military brass were spoiling for a fight throughout the crisis. and secretary mcnamara also had a lot of problems on his hands talking with the admirals and the generals. they were trained to fight. that was their job, and they wanted to. and the secretary mcnamara and the president were also doing their job, saying hold on. what are the steps? and they're trying to understand the 20 steps that are involved in the boarding of a soviet vessel. and they were correct to, because any errant shot might have led to the firing of